US, Turkey hold constructive talks

Turkish, US diplomats discussed Syria, Russian S-400 defense system and economic issues, says State Department

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) walks with U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo (R)

The U.S. and Turkey held constructive talks Wednesday, during which they discussed challenges in their relations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hosted Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the State Department.

“Had a constructive meeting w/@SecPompeo on challenges in our bilateral relations and issues on #Turkey-#US common agenda,” Cavusoglu said on Twitter after the meeting.

The talks lasted 40 minutes, but neither the U.S. nor Turkey immediately released details.

The State Department released a statement later saying that Pompeo expressed support for ongoing negotiations regarding northeast Syria and warned of the “potentially devastating consequences” of Turkey’s planned military operation in the region.

Pompeo also discussed his concerns regarding Turkey’s potential acquisition of Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system.

“The potential economic opportunities between Turkey and the United States were also a focus of the discussion,” said the statement.

Turkey’s decision to procure the S-400 has led to significantly strained ties, and Washington earlier this week suspended delivery of parts and services necessary to Turkey’s receipt of the F-35 stealth fighter jet.

U.S. officials have suggested Turkey buy the U.S. Patriot missile system rather than the Russian S-400 system, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems and exposes the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge, including covert efforts to obtain critical information on the jet, which could then be relayed to Russia.

In response to remarks that the S-400 missile system is incompatible with NATO military equipment, Cavusoglu said at a think tank gathering earlier Wednesday that the system would be for Turkey’s own use.

“It doesn’t have to be integrated into the NATO system, and this is not our aim. It is for our own use; this is a defense system,” he said.

“This system will not see any NATO system, including F-35s, as an enemy.”

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